Experiment with an open-source planting method

The Boomforest association was born in 2017 to enable a “sustainable and open-source forest” planting project to be carried out as part of the City of Paris’ Participatory Budget. Subsequently, as this initiative generated sustained interest (14,329 voters), the association structured itself to give a shape to this project and trace a continuity between our experience and those of future projects, whether they originate from the association directly or from other friendly collectives.

The desire to disseminate what we have learned horizontally is inspired by the open-source computer code movement, and infuses everything we do: everyone must be able to understand the method, reproduce it and adapt it to their own context, so that others can do the same. Transparency, sharing and accessibility of data are key points in our approach: we firmly believe that plantations should not become the preserve of certain companies that guarantee mysterious and miraculous knowledge – on the contrary. Let’s experiment, let’s test, but always, let’s search!

Taking action and spreading the word

The association’s objectives are based on two main pillars:

  • engage physically in new experiments, to constantly improve our understanding of the challenges of the Miyawaki method;
  • share our experience to help others who want to do the same.

We have summarized the association’s values in a manifesto, transcribed below:

Boomforest Manifesto

Restoring balance to our spaces. That’s what drives us, and why we want to encourage biodiversity all around us, through places that breathe life: forests. We dream of them as local and wild in their expression, free and accessible to all, natural and integrated into our daily lives.

This dream is within reach, thanks to an effective, simple planting methodology open to all. The method developed by Japanese professor Akira Miyawaki is based on the natural balances that enable trees to help each other grow faster: the very dense, completely natural planting of over fifty local species on each site makes it a simple, economical way of inhabiting areas ranging from a few hundred square metres in the city to several hectares in more unspoilt locations. The forests thus created have nothing in common with those planted in a standardized, regular and species-poor way, as is often the case in forestry. They breathe life, forming a powerful, autonomous ecosystem that is highly active in the local and global environment.
The more we grow, the more we work to offer an open and caring environment to those who would like to join us: in the forests as in our ranks, richness lies in diversity.

Having applied reforestation in different latitudes, we’ve already experienced the flexibility of the method, and found that it can be used in practice by everyone, experts and simple enthusiasts alike, in the city as well as in the countryside. We’ve come to realize that improving our living spaces is not only possible on the scale of a small community, but that it’s also fun, instructive and creates bonds. The strength of the forest, of this community of trees, lies in the community of people who give it its primary energy.

Seeking to bring people together to spread this state of mind in an open, free and dynamic approach, we founded the Boomforest association with the dual aim of creating forests and raising awareness of the Miyawaki method.

Our approach is driven by the conviction that restoring the ecological balance of a site and ensuring its sustainability over time is far more likely to succeed if local communities cooperate actively, and if everyone is aware of the importance of biodiversity in their daily lives. To ensure the greatest possible impact, we are developing the reproducibility of the method through the collection and publication of verified data, the monitoring of forest growth conditions, and regular contact with the experts who have developed the method from the outset.

These values drive and inspire us. The more we grow, the more we work to offer an open and caring environment to those who would like to join us: in the forests as in our ranks, diversity is the key to wealth.

Let’s create living forests, all around us!